How important is passion? Or, the relationship's good so why do I want to break up?

When I say I want to break up, I should say that part of me does. If I had to say a percent, I’d say about half. Part of me wants to continue things as they are going now. I talked with my girlfriend, and we decided that while she’s not going to pressure me that it would be best if I decided soon. I agree. The conversation was actually calm and rational, with only a little crying and no resentment. I’m getting ahead of myself though.

I’m a 24 year old American guy dating a 32 year old Chinese woman. We started dating last December when we were both in Boston. I was finishing my last year at Boston College, and she was learning English at EF. She is proficient now, so between that and our mutual Japanese, we have no communication problems. Things went that way until May, when she went to Beijing and I went home to Florida.

The plan was for me to come back to Japan in August, which I did. Unfortunately, I can’t stay. I have no money, and, more importantly, my parents need my help renovating our house. So, we just finished 3 months of long-distance and another 6 is looming. Four days left now in Japan. Our time in Japan is going well, but yet everyday I feel a gradually ncreasing desire to break up.

When I say our relationship is going well, I really mean it. We laugh at similar things, we connect in bed (I think so at least; I’ve only had a few other partners), she’s kind, intelligent, and considerate. I could see myself being with this girl and always being content.

Of course there are problems though, and I’m guessing it’s because of these that I feel like breaking up wouldn’t be so bad. For starters, she’s older. 32 isn’t old, but when I realize that I don’t want to have kids for another 4-5 years or so I guess, and I want 3 kids… that means she’d be 37. Second, the long distance thing. I’ve done it before, but it’s a pain in the ass. Third, and I really feel shallow for saying this, but I’m not that attracted to her physically sometimes. I wish I could change that, but so far no luck. Fourth, I simply want to try dating other women. I’m feeling constricted. It probably sounds like I’m just whining… anyway.

The most important issue in my opinion is one I haven’t mentioned yet except in the title. We love each other. We care for each other, and we like each other. However, there is no passion. There is no heart-burning, ooga-wooga, butterfly-churning hotness, and there never was. Our love is more like a candle-light. Warm and pleasant, but sometimes I wish it was a bonfire, even if just briefly.

So, besides asking for general advice, my question is, how important is passion? Should I break up and find a girl who roxors my boxors, or perhaps passion can be created in this relationship?

To make matters even more serious, in her culture break-ups are final. There is no ‘let’s have a trial seperation,’ ‘let’s see other people,’ or even maintaining a simple friendship. If we break up, we are out of each other’s lives permanently. ::sigh::

Wow, that is a tough spot to be in, Auto. I think long distance relationships are really difficult in the best of situations and being entire continents away from one another is probably the hardest kind of long distance relationship possible. I would say that for long distance to work you really need to know that you absolutely love this person and want to spend the forseeable future with them. Lukewarm relationships don’t stand up to the distance very well IME.

If you really are kind of wishy-washy on the whole thing I would say let her go find someone else. Let her find a man who thinks she is smoking hot. Let her find a man who won’t make her wait until she is almost 40 to start having kids. Let her find someone who lives in the same country. Go and find yourself a woman that makes you weak in the knees. Find a lady that you think is hot all the time, not just occasionally. Find someone who lives close enough to snuggle with you at night from time to time. You aren’t doing either of you any good if you are sticking around out of fear that you won’t find someone else or out of a sense of obligation to your girlfriend.

If you truly love her and see her by your side when you look 10 years into your future find a way to make it work. If not, stop trying to force it to happen and both of you can move on.

Wait, so you don’t even live in the same hemisphere as she, and won’t for the forseeable future, and you like her and enjoy the sex but aren’t gaga over her – what exactly is the nature of the relationship that you think you’re going to maintain?

Do I have you confused with someone else? I thought she was your wife…

I have come to the realization that passion is not everything in a relationship. There are lots of very dysfunctional, screwed up relationships that keep limping along because of passion but no substance. A solid loving friendship is a much more stable basis for a LTR.
However, with all the other problems you listed, especially the worries about kids, maybe in your case it is better to part than to keep struggling with a VERY long distance situation that may not really have much of a future.

I’m not married, but from what all I’ve read or heard from happily married people, I think that lasting friends is really what you’re looking for in a marriage partner. Passion is more for dating. You don’t have sex like people in the movies (I would imagine), so there’s little reason to think that you should reasonably have emotional love like them.

To opine a bit further though, I might suggest that one thing bothering you would be that she’s probably pretty serious. There’s not a lot of people past 30 who are in a relationship who aren’t thinking about marriage–particularly not Chinese or Japanese women who are pretty well being pressed by their family to GET MARRIED NOW from the time they pass 18. You’re 24 and feel like you should still be playing around. At 32, she is probably delighted to have found someone who seems to be fine with having a non-young-persons, stable relationship and is looking forward to you popping the question. Dumping her is going to be a very large thing for her since, like I said, she’s probably just waiting for you to get stable enough to marry.

Overall I’d say that you should definitely decide something before you leave, but I would say the options should be “dump” or “get engaged”, not “dump” or “carry on as we are.” Certainly I’m basing this on nothing more than her age and nationality, but I feel the odds are pretty strong in my favor.

Break up with her. If it weren’t for the long distance thing, you could keep plugging for six months to see if something will gel, but it’s not going to gel while you are apart, at best it will stay in a holding pattern, and when you see her in six months you’ll be facing the same dilemma.

There are about a thousand things that are going to make this relationship difficult and complicated. They could all be overcome, but you’d have to really be committed to the relationship and ready to give up a great deal–most certainly your very specific time-line and quantity ideas about children–in order to have her. It doesn’t sound like you really want to do that.

As far as passion specifically, this always confuses me when it comes up because to me passion and affection are really tied together: I mean, I don’t feel my heart in my throat everytime my husband walks in the room anymore, but I do feel powerfully attracted to him, not always in a “take me now” way, but often in a “it doesn’t matter what’s on the TV as long as we are sprawled on the couch together, holding each other in places we wouldn’t grab in public” way, or a “sleeping tangled up” way, or a “kiss you as I pass you at the computer” way. I certainly need that kind of passion. I wouldn’t stay in a marriage without it. It’s not just being great friends.

I’d say, if you ask yourself the question “do I want to stay with her?” and the answer is not “Hell, yes!” or even "Yeah . . . " with a happy sigh, then the answer really is “no”.

Do yourself and her a favor and break it off.

If you have to question whether you’re in love with someone, you’re not in love with them. The truth is that you like her, but you know you’re really not in love with her and that’s she’s not really the one. It sounds like you don’t want to hurt her feelings or make her feel like she did anything wrong, but the truth is if you stay with someone to avoid hurting them you eventually become more and more unhappy and more and more resentful about it. Then, inevitably, you’ll meet somebody who makes you’re heart go pitter patter and you’ll be stuck with someone you never truly wanted to be be stuck with.

Break it off, and forget about “trial separations.” I’ve always thought that was kind of an insulting proposition anyway. Either leave or stay, don’t try to put somebody in storage. That’s not nice.

Picture the rest of your life…without her. How does that make you feel?

That will give you your answer.

I think passion is important in a marriage. It’s not the only thing, but you do need it. If she doesn’t make your toes curl, then it’s time to move on. She deserves a man who gets a little tingle every time he sees her. And you deserve a woman who makes your toes curl.

I too think you should break up. She will be looking for marriage and if the real passion is not there now it isn’t going to materialise out of nowhere.

Passion in terms of heart stopping sex and dry mouth and beating heart waiting for the other one to come home etc does not last, as least not in that flavour. But it has to have been there in the first place in order to mature into the next flavours of passion.

I too had relationships that I wondered if it was the one but others are right, if you have to ponder it then it isn’t. I knew fairly quickly and with certainty that my husband was the one. Now 14 years of marriage and 17 years of history later, he has just walked past me in a holey T-shirt and saggy boxers slung under his gut so they are empty at the back. He has a gammy knee and because of hard training this week he’s limping. And he’s grey and whiskery because he couldn’t be bothered to shave today. I am double the woman he married, saggy with a stomach covered in scars of childbirth and other operations. My eyes are bad and I don’t see that well. My ezema is really bad today and this evening I scratched my face without thinking so now I have scabs on my forehead. And despite all those lovely, attractive things we still like each other and I shall still enjoy getting something from those baggy boxers later tonight!!

So yes, friendship and trust, companionship and sense of humour etc are all vital but if there is not that basic “rawrrrr!” at the beginning, how on earth is that going to stand up to the ravages of unsexy time?

Disregarding all the other factors in your relationship, Auto, I have to say that IME, passion is not really something that can be manufactured. I’ve dated guys where we had a perfectly pleasant and affectionate relationship but there was no spark. For me, anyway, passion is one of those things that either exists or it doesn’t. It won’t make or break a relationship on its own, but unlike affection it doesn’t seem like something that develops with time.

As for everything else - sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. I’ve been doing a sort-of long-distance thing for the past two months, and while there are a lot of other complicating factors in my situation, I’ve decided that long-distance would probably put even the sturdiest of relationships to the test. In your case, there doesn’t seem to be much incentive to make that extra effort in the first place.

Passion is (often painfully) overrated and the people who try to base a relationship on passion usually just end up being miserable.

As for you personally, I pretty much agree with twickster:

Basically, it sounds like you started bumping uglies with a good friend and then that made you a “couple.” But spending time apart made you realize you’re not really a “couple” and you don’t know how to break it to her.

Also, you’re choosing renovating your parent’s house over finding a way to stay in Japan longer to stay with her. Dude, it’s over, passion or not.

My relationship with my ex wife was almost the opposite. The passion and sex was fantastic, the part about being friends or treating each other with respect … not so much. In seven years of marriage we never got tired of the sexual aspect of our marriage. Unfortunately we came to the point were we almost hated each other outside of the bedroom.
It’s all about what you deem important. In the end I decided the great sex life was not worth the mental anguish we were putting each other through.

All that being said, if she called me today and hinted that she may be more than a little horny I would soon find out if my car has optional warp speed installed.

Tell me what you mean by content.